(Window of St John the Baptist in the old Baptistery of our church)
Dear friends in Christ
The Third Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday - brings us very close to the celebration of the Birth of Jesus into our world, and we should rightly get excited each recurring year. I invite you all to take a Christmas poster as you leave Mass this weekend and the Christmas schedule of Services on the separate cards that have been produced. This Sunday at 9.30am Mass, families and children present their gifts for needy children in our area; these are very gratefully received and distributed by the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society. Next Sunday, the final Sunday of Advent before Christmas, I would once again like to invite the children to bring the figures of Baby Jesus from their Cribs to be blest at the end of 9.30am Mass; this little custom each year links the Parish Family with individual families - the Domestic Church - in the way we recall the Incarnation.
Our thanks to all those who supported our Parish Bazaar last weekend: all who donated goods, the organisers, and all of you who came along on Saturday; one thousand, nine hundred and fifty one pounds was raised for our Parish funds. This is much appreciated, as you will have noticed some remedial work is being carried out during these weeks on the fabric of the church and Presbytery. The recommendations of our recent Quinquennial Report have made it evident that an ongoing programme of maintenance is necessary.
After Christmas our Parish Master of Ceremonies - Gerry Dillon - will be taking a less active role in the liturgical life of the Parish. Gerry has been an Altar Server here for forty-two years and has been our MC for thirty-five of those years; he has given a wonderfully dedicated, loyal and patient service in the liturgy; he has received the Papal decoration Benemerenti for his ministry at the Altar. We - especially the Clergy - owe Gerry a huge debt of gratitude for all his devoted service; he will continue to assist with the weekly serving of Holy Mass. I have appointed Bernard Arscott as the new Parish MC and I thank him for his willingness to take-up this responsibility which will begin on St Stephen’s Day.
The next Newsletter will be a double-issue covering the next two weekends; I would like here to record my thanks to the Parish Office Staff who provide a very valuable back-room support for me and the Parish Administration in a thoroughly professional and dedicated manner.
I pray that we will all continue to use this Advent as a time of preparation - through prayer and in the Sacrament of Penance - for a worthy, joyful and holy celebration of the Lord’s Nativity.
Fr Kevin Hale